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JIS News

The Portmore Municipal Council has suspended all construction activities along the Port Henderson roadway in St. Catherine.
Portmore Mayor, George Lee, told JIS News that the increase in building activities in the area and the ensuing problem of illegal dumping, were restricting water run-offs, causing water to settle on the roadway and resulting in significant damage to the road surface.
“Clearly, some regulation has to be implemented to stop that kind of development activity, which causes the water to flow and settle on the road like that and there has to be some correction,” he stated.
“So, what we have done as a Council”, he explained, “is to put a moratorium on any further building along the strip until we can put some order into it. Every (building) application will have to be examined case by case and corrections have to be made before approval is granted”.
According to the Mayor, the Port Henderson strip was a vital part of the economy of Portmore and “we don’t want to restrict business there. We will take a collaborative multi-agency approach with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), the National Works Agency, the Urban Development Corporation and landowners, to see how we can develop the area in a more orderly manner”.
He acknowledged that while most of the developers had received the requisite building permits from the local authority, NEPA and other associated agencies, “what seems to have happened on the back road is that permission was not given in some areas . so there are a lot of buildings that are without permission and a lot of extensions done without the requisite approvals”.
Mayor Lee said the Municipal Council would have to work with the developers to correct the problem and expressed disappointment that most of them did not turn up for a meeting held recently to address the situation. He indicated that another meeting would be held shortly, as the Council wanted the full cooperation of all stakeholders.
Questioned on what would be done if developers ignored the moratorium, Mayor Lee said the Council would have no choice but to let the law take its course. “There are remedies. We have enough laws and regulations existing to use and if you don’t comply, we take you to the local court or get an injunction in the Supreme Court,” he stated.
The Council operates a Municipal Court one day per month in Portmore where community matters can be settled. In fact, said Mayor Lee, at the last session, there were upwards of 20 cases before the court for breaches of the building code. “The court is proving to be quite effective as people have been charged and people have been fined and at the next sitting, there will be over 20 cases to be heard,” he informed.